By Abbey Foard

Anniversary celebrations run the risk of becoming sappy and nostalgic in ways that diverge from reality. Don’t get me wrong: reflecting on accomplishments is important, but best when inspiring a good future hope! Gratefully, we experienced such clarity as Desert Stream celebrated 40 years of ministry last week in Kansas City.

We considered 40 years’ worth of reflections from Living Waters representatives who gathered courageously amidst COVID. (Maybe the courage was reminiscent of what each mustered the year he or she first set foot in a Living Waters group?!) We worshipped the Lord with a team that spanned geography and eras; we became ‘church’ in all our diversity and celebrated the work that He began and has not stopped doing in each of our lives.

We honored Andrew and Annette, our fearless and passionate leaders, for their integrity, faithfulness and commitment to Jesus and this unique work. All of us in the audience were delighted as the four Comiskey children emceed each decade. They noted their intersections with Desert Stream/Living Waters and in sum gave us a tangible picture of the worthiest fruit of this ministry: the life that flowed from the couple who founded it.

A marriage that the world tells us should “never have been” now exhibits and envisions the fruitfulness that comes from Jesus; is this not what life-in-Christ is about?

Fruitfulness is unique to each of us. It may look different than we expected–partial and progressive, still in process in our lives. But fruit is always a byproduct of our “yes” to Jesus. He tells us that when we remain Him and Him in us, we “will bear much fruit” (John 15:5).

The Comiskeys bear fruit, as does Desert Stream. Not because of any superior gifting or inherent strength. Having walked closely with Andrew and Annette these past four years, I can say that they are fun-loving, earthy people who live simply to love Jesus and others. They don’t seek to be “special” but to be “faithful.”

That’s what makes them special: they seek to be true to Jesus. He wells up from them like “living water.” He makes them fruitful like the trees in Ezekiel 47 “whose leaves neither wither nor whose fruit fails; they bear fruit every month because the water from the sanctuary flows to them, with their fruit serving for food and the leaves for healing” (Ezekiel 47:12).

As we reflected on the fruit of Andrew and Annette’s persistent ‘yes’ to Jesus, He inspired us to bear fruit for another 40 years (at least!), fruit well-watered by Desert Stream.